NASCAR Betting Guide: HighPoint.com 400
Having your model align with the market is both the best feeling in the world and the worst.
On the one hand, it likely means you're doing something right. Betting markets tend to be efficient, and if you can match them, you're on the right path.
On the other, it means you're not going to find much betting value. That's where I'm at this week for the HighPoint.com 400 in Pocono.
There are 36 drivers in the field for this week. Of those 36, only one of them has win odds in my model at least a half a percentage point higher than his implied betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook for Pocono. That's Ross Chastain (7.7% implied at +1200 versus 8.2% in my model), and Chastain's form has been volatile enough where I don't want to take the value.
So, at least for now, outrights are a no-fly zone for me. That may change after practice, but I don't see anything enticing enough to take at the moment.
That's largely true with top-10 bets, as well. But there are two drivers who are values by my model, and they're both spots where I agree with the numbers. So let's dig into those for now, and we can circle back later if any more value opens up later in the week.
Erik Jones to Finish Top 10 (+430)
(UPDATE: Jones' top-10 odds have since lengthened to +480. After adding in practice and qualifying, my model has reduced his top-10 odds to 15.7%, below the new implied odds of 17.2%. I'd avoid betting Jones now with the information we have.)
This track type was Erik Jones' play-place last year. He finished top-10 in all three races at big, non-drafting tracks, including a ninth-place run here at Pocono.
Even accounting for Legacy MC's downtick this year, I still have Jones as a value.
The struggles this year have been real. In six races at tracks I'd deem somewhat relevant for Pocono, Jones has just one top-10, an eighth-place run in Nashville. That's not even a higher-speed spot; it's on my list just because the corners are flat and sweeping like we'll see here.
But Jones did have decent speed in Charlotte before running into an issue, and he was at least a factor in both Fontana and Las Vegas. So even in a rough year for the company, he hasn't been totally out to lunch at somewhat relevant tracks.
As a result, my model has Jones at 21.7% to finish top 10, up from 18.9% implied. Given the bump cars aligned with Richard Childress Racing have gotten on the big, fast tracks for the past half-decade, I think there's enough here to buy what the model is selling.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to Finish Top 10 (+500)
(UPDATE: Stenhouse has since shortened to +430 to finish top 10. After qualifying, his odds in my model are now 20.8%, above his new implied odds of 18.9%. The value isn't as large as it was before, but Stenhouse is still a fine bet if you'd like to add him.)
The bigger value than Jones, though, is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Again, I buy into what the model is saying even at a poor track for Stenhouse.
In 19 career races at Pocono, Stenhouse has never finished top 10. Even when he has been in somewhat decent equipment, his best finish is 11th back in 2017.
But Stenhouse's form now is arguably the best it has ever been. He has six top-10s this year, tied for the second most in a season in his entire career with 17 races still left to go. That includes a seventh-place run in Charlotte, where speed is important, and he has added 12th-place runs in Fontana and Kansas to boot.
Stenhouse was having a great run in Gateway (another track with sweeping corners) with a 12th-place average running position. Then he got caught up in an incident not of his own doing, ruining a really solid finish. His average finish could be even better than 15.9, and that's already a career-best.
I think Stenhouse has a shot to have the best run he has ever had at this track on Sunday. It's betting against history, but it's also betting on a driver with better form than this number would imply. My model has Stenhouse at 22.2% for a top-10, up from 16.7% implied.
Post-Qualifying Addition: Tyler Reddick to Win (+1300)
(UPDATE: Reddick has since shortened to +900 to win. With implied odds of 10.0%, he is no longer a value by my model.)
After adding in practice and qualifying data, one team pops as being undervalued: 23XI. And I agree with both halves of that.
Let's start with Tyler Reddick, who qualified seventh. After adjusting for which group each driver was in (as the track did speed up for the second group), Reddick had the second-best single-lap speed and the sixth-best five-lap average.
This speed wasn't a huge surprise. Reddick finished second here last year with Richard Childress Racing, and he has had good pace this year; he just hasn't always had the results to show for it.
After qualifying, my model has Reddick at 8.2% to win, up from 7.1% implied, a big enough gap for me to dive in.
Post-Qualifying Addition: Bubba Wallace to Win (+3000)
The other half of 23XI Racing is part of why I have faith in Reddick. We've seen Bubba Wallace have great runs at this track since joining the team.
Wallace has had a top-13 average running position in all three Pocono races with 23XI. He turned one of them into a top-five finish, and he was 10th last year (prior to a pair of disqualifications in front of him).
Wallace has done a better job of converting his speed into finishes than Reddick. He logged fourth-place finishes in Charlotte, Kansas, and Las Vegas, all spots that require good some giddy-up, similar to Pocono.
After adjustments, Wallace was seventh in single-lap speed and ninth in five-lap average. The big downside is that his team will prioritize stage points due to their ranking in the standings, but with Wallace's implied odds at 3.2% versus 4.1% in my model, I'm fine with that as the lone red flag.
Post-Qualifying Addition: AJ Allmendinger to Finish Top 10 (+430)
After adjusting for group speed, AJ Allmendinger looks like he had a fast car on Saturday. As a result, my model views him as a great value for a top 10 at this number.
Allmendinger -- after group adjustments -- ranked 10th in single-lap speed and fifth in five-lap average. He qualified a respectable 16th, meaning he won't have a ton of ground to cover to crack the top 10.
Allmendinger had very good speed in both Gateway and Nashville -- tracks with flat, sweeping turns -- and he did nab a top-10 in Nashville. That's his lone top-10 on a non-drafting oval this year, but the pace does seem like it has been trending up.
My model puts Allmendinger at 29.2% for a top 10, up from his implied odds of 18.9%. As of now, this is my favorite bet on the board at FanDuel Sportsbook.